Originally published in Ecumenical News
US President Donald Trump declared he was open to a “one-state solution” to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict which includes the possibility of backing away from the “two-state solution,” a policy that has been maintained by past White House administrations for decades.
The president aired his stand on Wednesday during a joint news conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who was on a two-day visit in Washington DC. It was the first meeting between the two leaders since Trump won the U.S. election last November.
Asked about his views on a two-state solution, the president hinted it was not the only way to resolve the decades-long land dispute. “I’m looking at two-state and one-state [solutions], and I like the one that both parties like. I can live with either one,” he said.
The two-state policy calls for the formation of two separate states of Palestine and Israel in the occupied West Bank, Jerusalem and Gaza Strip. On the other hand, the one-state solution envisions that Israel will be the only surviving state that will take in Palestinian citizens in the disputed territories.
“I thought for a while the two-state [solution] looked to be the easier of the two, but honestly, if Bibi and the Palestinians — if Israel and the Palestinians are happy, I’m happy with the one they like the best,” Trump said. Netanyahu, however, would not say which policy he preferred, except by saying that: “Rather than deal with labels, I want to deal with substance.”
However, Trump stressed that “both sides will have to make compromises” to arrive at a solution. He then asked Netanyahu to “hold back” for “a little bit” the expansion of Jewish settlements in the disputed territory, which is a major dispute between Israelis and Palestinians, while the parties “work something out.”